Re: Re: Use of CAS in introductory science&engineering courses

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg61656] Re: [mg61623] Re: Use of CAS in introductory science&engineering courses*From*: Pratik Desai <pdesai1 at umbc.edu>*Date*: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 21:07:15 -0400 (EDT)*References*: <djfnco$avq$1@smc.vnet.net> <200510240544.BAA29073@smc.vnet.net>*Sender*: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

Richard Fateman wrote: >carlos at colorado.edu wrote: > > > >>There seem to be some confusion in the "Language versus >>Library" debate as regards the proper mix of "computer science" >>versus "applied mathematics" in introductory undergraduate >>courses. In my opinion some of the confusion has historical roots. >> >>In the US, computer science (CS) departments did not exist as >>individual entities before 1965. (The 1st was established by George >>Forsythe at Stanford, if I remember correctly). >> >> > >The first Department of Computer Sciences in the United States was established >at Purdue University in October 1962 according to >http://www.cs.purdue.edu/history/history.html > > At creation time they > > >>were often spawned from one of two sources: >> >> Math department (-> CS becomes part of Arts & Sciences) >> EE department (-> CS becomes part of Engineering) >> >>If spawned from Math, the original CS tended to have a strong >>applied-math + numerical analysis core. >> >> > >Not my impression. I think that ones originating from math >tended to have a strong abstract math flavor, e.g. >abstract families of (formal) languages, automata theory, >theory of computability. Numerical analysis contributes >but is not a focus. Applications (e.g. applied physics) >is small. UC Berkeley's computer science (in the >College of Letters and Sciences) started that way. > > If from EE, they tended to be > > >>"computer engineering" and hardware oriented. >> >> >> >UC Berkeley had one of those, too, until they merged in >about 1972, and EE&CS became one department. The EE >contribution included things like "systems" and "optimization" > > > >>This is an unstable stage. It is essential part of human >>nature to try to establish an identity. As a consequence, >>CS departments have gradually focused on software: languages, >>networks, databases, AI, interfaces, etc., as their core mission. >> >>The result has been a "reverse migration". Math-oriented academic >>types have found more hospitable homes in science or applied math >>departments. For example at Colorado-Boulder a Program in Applied >>Mathematics was created in the late 1980s; as of now this is a >>department in its own, separate from Mathematics proper. >>Hardware oriented types gravitated back to EE or kept joint >>appointments. By now the reconfiguration is approaching >>steady-state, as one can verify by reading faculty position >>announcements in CS. >> >>Consequence: programming service courses taught by CS faculty to >>lower division students in engineering and sciences tend to focus on >>nuts-and-bolts languages. In our case, the favorites are C++ and Java >>(Fortran disappeared around 1995, C around 2000). Focus is >>programming, data structures and interfaces. Math is incidental; >>algorithms are used only as examples. That is the way it is and >>will be: wishful talk will not change human nature. >> >> > >I guess we are in agreement about this: Atica does not sell here. > > >>On the other hand, service courses offered by our Applied Math >>(for example, the Calculus sequence) do use Mathematica and >>similar high level tools in recitations and labs. For obvious reason: >>they fit course objectives (=learning Math) better, and programming >>becomes incidental. >> >> > >Learning Atica or mathematica is not usually a core objective in a calculus course. >At UC Berkeley, the history of the calculus labs seems to be that >if the instructor is a fan of some computer algebra system X, then >that is used. The next year it is CAS Y, etc. >For some schools the choice is made for a handheld graphing >calculator. > I wonder what the core language of a calculator could be :-) , for me mathematica is essentially a souped up calculator. I expect nothing more and nothing less............... > Given the kind of usage .. a few commands, a few >plots, I suspect not much harm is done to most students.... since those >who go on to programming (or have previous programming >contact) will see other languages too. > > > > > > > -- Pratik Desai Graduate Student UMBC Department of Mechanical Engineering Phone: 410 455 8134

**Follow-Ups**:**Re: Re: Re: Use of CAS in introductory science&engineering courses***From:*Renan <renan.birck@gmail.com>

**References**:**Re: Use of CAS in introductory science&engineering courses***From:*Richard Fateman <fateman@cs.berkeley.edu>

**Re: Re: aggregation of related elements in a list**

**Re: Re: Language vs. Library why it matters**

**Re: Use of CAS in introductory science&engineering courses**

**Re: Re: Re: Use of CAS in introductory science&engineering courses**